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Remembrance Day poppy sales banned at new Mid Ulster super-council

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A veteran holds a poppy wreath during a Remembrance Day ceremony

A veteran holds a poppy wreath during a Remembrance Day ceremony

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A veteran holds a poppy wreath during a Remembrance Day ceremony

Remembrance Day poppies have been banned from sale at all council buildings in one of the first steps taken by a new Northern Ireland super-council.

The tributes will not be stocked at the new Mid Ulster Council buildings after the controversial policy was passed at a meeting of the shadow council by 24 votes to 15.

The interim measure will be put to public consultation at a later date.

It also voted to introduce Irish-first branding to be used on council literature, vehicles and buildings - following the example of Newry, Mourne and Down District Council.

The DUP and UUP have issued a fierce joint statement, saying Sinn Fein and the SDLP are "intent on making Mid-Ulster a cold house for Unionists".

The parties say they will unite "to try to thwart this agenda" by calling-in the contentious decisions.

DUP Group Leader, Paul McLean and UUP Group Leader, Trevor Wilson said: "Everything about these decisions stinks to high heaven. First you have the manner of the decision; they should have held the full public consultation and full Equality Impact assessment first.

"Sinn Fein and the SDLP are trying to skew the pitch by ramming these decisions through and then going through the motions on consultation.

"Second, the speed in which they wanted to take these decisions and how quickly they were implemented shows they couldn’t wait to try and abuse their majority status on the new council.

"Third, the decisions themselves both individually and collectively aim to create a cold house for Unionists in Mid-Ulster in breach of the council’s legal, equality and good relations responsibilities.

Mid Ulster Council said: "In developing new policies on flags, emblems and language, the council anticipates the need to carry out Equality Impact Assessments, which will not be complete before 1 April.

"In considering an interim approach, the council has decided that the sale of emblems, including poppies and Easter lilies, will not take place from council premises."

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Belfast Telegraph